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object. O if I could but judge for myself!' She looked as if scarcely comprehending him.
Semund,' she said, 'tell me at once if I understand you? You not only long to visit England, but really intend doing so—returning with Mr O'More : is it not so?'
'It is, dearest Marfreda. But why do you grow pale? This desire is perfectly compatible with my devoted affection to you. We have grown up together, and loved each other ever since we were capable of loving. You know it has been settled,' he continued, speaking with some hesitation, that we are to be united at midsummer : now, Marfreda, my taking this journey would be but a delay to our happiness which it may ultimately be the means of augmenting. I shall gain knowledge—perhaps fame, Marfreda!' and his young cheek glowed. * Fame leads to wealth; and then I shall return and share all with you. Oh, never doubt, my love !'
'I never will doubt anything you tell me, Semund; but such love is not like that which women feel-not like mine! Fame, knowledge, wealth! Oh, the heart of woman would give them all for one day, one hour, in the society of him she loves! But, Semund '—and there seemed some difficulty in giving utterance to the words—'Semund, if you deem your engagement to me any hinderance to the fulfilment of your wishes, it need be so no longer. From this moment I absolve you even from every recollection of it. Nay, do not expostulate; nothing shall alter my resolution: you are free as the breeze that blows over yonder lake! I know what you would say. But were you to renounce all idea of this journey it would make no difference now: your love is not what I supposed it-not like mine.'
Her voice faltered, and there was an evident struggle between tenderness and pride, of which Semund, whose old affection was powerfully revived by seeing it, tried to take advantage, and alter her resolution by renouncing his intended expedition.
• No,' she said with restored firmness, 'you deceive yourself. When this little ebullition of feeling subsides, you will not really prefer me to what has taken such strong hold of your imagination. Pursue your plan; or, as your friend O'More says, try the experiment. Never again shall my womanly weakness interfere with your wishes. I will now do all I can to promote their accomplishment ? A burst of tears stopped her: she rushed into the house, and in the solitude of her apartment sought to attain that strength of mind which she felt so necessary towards acting the part she resolved to sustain.
When next they met Marfreda had perfectly recovered her selfpossession; and though her cheek was pale, she spoke with her usual animation. In vain Semund tried to speak of their mutual attachment and engagement: she allowed no recurrence to the subject, but urged him to follow his desire, and accept an invitation which O'More had given him, to return with him to his own country, promising to use her influence with his father and mother to obtain their consent. "I will stay with them always, and be unto them as a daughter,' said she.
Whatever may have been Semund's secret misgivings as to the return he was making for the disinterested affection which poor Marfreda manifested
--and they were often painful—the very unlooked - for opportunity of gratifying his long-cherished wishes was too great a temptation to be resisted. Neither did his father's reasoning nor his mother's tears induce him to give up the undertaking: they at length ceased to oppose it; and, with the true Christian spirit which influenced this minister of the Gospel, the Sira Hialte submitted to what seemed inevitable, quietly leaving the result in the hands of One whose word assured him He would make all things work together for good to His people. Nor were his wife and their young charge without comfort from the same source, for they also studied and believed their Bibles.
There now seemed but one difficulty in the way of Semund's accomplishing his plan- which was the want of money; for little as these primitive people were acquainted with the ways of the world, they were aware that some gold was requisite in facilitating a traveller's progress through the most civilised countries. In the simplicity of their hearts they discussed this subject before their guest, who had not been many weeks among them till, by at once accommodating himself to all their habits and pursuits with a tact peculiarly possessed by his countrymen, and by the liveliness of his conversation and the kindness of his manner, he was treated as an intimate friend by every member the establishment at Grimsted Farm.
"I have discovered from various books,' said the pastor, 'that money is necessary in passing through the land of these mercantile people the English; but, O'More, is it so in your country, or does the Irish chieftain still keep his hall - door open, and welcome and entertain the stranger, especially one who travels in pursuit of learning ?'
Ah, dear sir,' he replied, we are sadly degenerated from the customs of our fathers. Our chieftains have now got locks upon their hall-doors; nor can you much blame them when I tell you that otherwise they would soon have nothing left to entertain any one with. And as to the special welcome for a scholar-must I say it?—the wisdom and learning of Solomon would not in general be deemed half so good a title to it as a fine equipage or well-filled purse. But you must blame that same mercantile people: our amalgamation with the Sassenach has wrought these changes. However, sweet Marfreda, you look so shocked that I must add, in remote districts, where may still be found remains of the unmixed Milesian race, there still are traces of the romantic hospitality of other days; and the door is still unbarred, and the stranger welcome to a potato as long as they have one to give.'
* Then, my son,' observed the old man with a knowing air, which made his visitor smile, you will require money in Ireland also ?'
· Alas! too true, sir,' replied O'More : 'no country on earth where it is more needed, of which I have melancholy experience. Oh, Semund," he continued more gravely, “how I wish I had plenty of it to offer you, but it is not likely I ever shall. But, my kind friends, in order to shew you that I want the power, not the will, to prove my love for Semund by helping him in this matter, you must allow me to recur to a few circumstances in my own history, to which you will, I know, kindly listen. I was brought up as heir to an estate which had belonged to my family time immemorial -the only remnant of the wide lands over which the O'Mores once held
sway, and by far the best thing I inherited from them. On the death of the relative who was in possession it became mine, and I set about enjoying it to the best of my ability. This was the golden time of my existence; but a change came. A claim to my inheritance was put in by another branch of the family, which he tried to establish by law. I will not enter into the particulars of this litigation; it is sufficient to say it soon appeared that this claim, though unjust, was but too likely to succeed. An ancient document which, if forthcoming, would for ever invalidate the pretensions of my adversary, could not be found. I ascertained that it had been in the possession of a granduncle, who, long before I was born, had gone
to Norway and settled there; and I undertook a journey to that country in the feeble hope of recovering it from his representative, but was disappointed. My Norwegian cousin received me kindly; and as the progeny of the old gentleman who had emigrated with my precious papers in his possession had been numerous, and had settled in various parts of the country, I remained with him till we traced out as many of them as we could; but it was all in vain. On my way home, as you already know, I visited your hospitable island, where I have met with kindness I never can forget, and witnessed rational enjoyment, disinterested affection, such as I hope not for in other lands. Shortly after my arrival in Ireland it is probable I must resign my patrimony, and with it of course my place in society, and every hope connected with the land of my birth. I therefore intend either to enter the army, or pursue some other course which will save me the mortification of letting my altered fortunes be witnessed by old associates and friends, as they are called. But until I am actually turned out of this same inheritance I shall have sufficient interest among the great and gay-ay, Semund, and the philosophers and literati—to introduce you into their circles, and give you an opportunity of judging how far they resemble your ideas of them.'
“And will you not always have influence with such ?' inquired Hialte. 'I cannot understand how the loss of fortune could weaken it. Will you not still be a gentleman and a scholar, and worthy of the respect and friendship of all ?'
'I tell you, sir,' cried O'More bitterly — 'I tell you, sir, that when & man is poor he is worthy of nothing; that is the way of the world, and I have seen something of it already; but,' he added in a gayer tone,
remember I'am speaking of the way of the world, not referring to poor Ireland alone.
some portions of her old kindness and unselfish affection still exist, though it may not be my lot to experience them. However, let us speak of Semund's journey. Poor as I am, trust him with me, and all I can I will do to serve him.'
“Thanks, dear O’More,' replied the young man; 'but do you know that a prospect of becoming quite rich enough for our undertaking has this day been opened to me?' He was requested to explain, and proceeded: The polar bear, the very gentleman who first brought me acquainted with O'More, will, I trust, furnish me with the means of visiting his country.
I You know this Greenland wanderer has not been heard of in our vicinity since the evening we met him : he went to more inaccessible regions; but last night he reappeared on the shores of the lake, and if you will all assist me,' addressing the servants, 'I will lead you against him this night. I
have not asked help from any of our neighbours lest I should be disappointed in the hope of his falling by my own hand, but I will manage so as that the danger shall be mine alone; only prepare your firearms and accompany me.'
O’More inquired how this exploit was to facilitate the journey, and was told that the person who killed a bear was not only well paid for the skin, but was to receive a considerable reward from the king of Denmark.
The guest of course requested permission to join the assailants, and the plan of warfare was duly arranged. We shall not recount the fears and expostulations of Semund's mother when she saw him preparing to lead his followers against this formidable invader, neither shall we try to describe poor Marfreda's silent but eloquent look of suppressed anxiety; for no longer considering herself as the betrothed bride of the young Icelander, a feeling of womanly pride taught her to conceal as well as she could her deep interest in his safety. The Sira Hialte made light of his wife's apprehensions, giving a spirited account of an exploit of his own on a similar occasion, which, however, he interlarded with many hints on the necessity of caution for the benefit of his young auditors. A fervent prayer for their safety was then offered up, and the party set out on their perilous expedition. It is not our purpose to furnish our readers with an account of the bear-hunt, as probably they would take little interest in any part of it except the dénouement, which was, that the assailants returned triumphant, Semund bearing the desired trophy of his victory—the skin of the enemy, which had fallen by his hand. The reward of this achievement was to be received at Reikiavik, from whence they were to sail for England; and preparations actually commenced for Semund's journey, an event which now seemed to engross every thought of his mind and feeling of his heart, while O'More became dejected, and seemed to grow more so as the day of departure approached.
At length the last evening came, the travellers were to set out on the following morning, and a general depression of spirits pervaded the family circle. O'More wished to visit once more his favourite seat upon the rock, which commanded an extensive view of the lake and mountains, and was accompanied by his two young friends, Marfreda taking her harp at his request.
She had never made the slightest reference to Semund's unkindness in leaving her, nor to their long attachment and engagement, since she had voluntarily released him from it, nor would she allow him to allude to it. On the present occasion she was perfectly tranquil, while Semund seemed agitated by conflicting feelings. After they had sat for some time in silence, Marfreda struck a few chords upon her hårp, and said: “Mr O’More, I will sing you a little song which you never heard before; the words were composed by Semund long ago; probably he has forgotten them, but I have not.' She then sung, with a voice of melting sweetness and to a simple Icelandic melody, the following verses :
THE ICELANDER'S SONG.
They teil of sunny islands
Beyond the distant main,
And fields of golden grain.
They say the silvery fountains
Of that delightful land,
In winter's frozen band.
With verdure clad, the mountains
Repose in rest profound;
To fling destruction round;
Forth from their placid lakes;
The hill and valley shakes.
But let me in my fatherland,
Mine own dear home, be found,
And watch the reindeer bound;
Their wild sublimity,
Forth red artillery.
Oh, happy is our Iceland home,
And such a cordial smile
But in my native isle.
For I will never rove;
Unshared by those we love.
Semund covered his face while he listened to this song, and when it was ended he walked away, evidently quite overpowered. O'More also seemed much affected. He exclaimed at last: “And still Semund can leave you-can leave the endearments of home, the love of a creature like Marfreda, to seek-he scarcely knows what! O had I such a homeaffection fully disinterested and independent of outward circumstances-to look to, how little I would care for those things I once deemed necessary to happiness !'
And so you will yet, dear friend,' said Marfreda in a voice of kindness. Not unless I find them here, Marfreda ; not unless you give them to me.' With a look of the greatest surprise she inquired what he meant.
'I will tell you,' he answered, though ten minutes ago I thought I would never do so; but we of Erin's Isle are always saying what we do not intend to say. Only listen with patience, sweet Marfreda, and do not be displeased with me, even if you disapprove of what I tell you. My heart sickens at the thought of returning to my country with a blight over every prospect of future happiness. No longer fitted for the station in which I was brought up-to be slighted and despised by former associates and friends, as they are called-no; I never could endure it.'
* And are such the invariable consequences of a loss of fortune ?' inquired Marfreda.
* Perhaps not; I cannot say: but this I know, that even the probability of such a loss in my case was sufficient to prove the hollowness, the base